I’m still on a high after the fabulous DIY Talent Parade. Seriously, I think the Rose Parade needs to watch out because y’all have some fabulous talent! There were so many amazing projects, it was hard to pick just a few of my favorites.

To start off the highlights, I present to you this colorful living room makeover by Yanet from 3 Sun Kissed Boys. I love how she nailed the color palette when she decided the word for the room should be cheery:

Plum Doodles wowed us with this standard vanity makeover by painting the toe kick black and adding legs and a skirt. Check out here step by step tutorial: Read more

I am amazed that we’ve had great weather for the entire two weeks of the DIY Talent Parade! Are you enjoying the parade so far?! Well, get ready to have your socks knocked off today. Our talented guest is an amazing multi-tasking mother of four. She cooks, she sews, she crafts and she makes everything she touches beautiful! Amy is beautiful inside and out which makes it no surprise that she has the talent to turn ordinary objects into gorgeous creations. Like this t-shirt turned bolero.

Wait, I think I see her coming this way…ummm…is she dancing? Why yes, she is! My goodness is there anything this girl can’t do?! Turn your heads this way and welcome the very lovely and very talented Amy from Positively Splendid. Read more

Look up there! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no wait…it’s Madigan Made! That’s right, Shannon from Madigan Made is here and she leads a double life. She’s the Clark Kent of the blogging world. By day, Shannon is a pharmacist and by night she moonlights as a creative magician and blogger.  This creative genius casts magical spells on ordinary objects and turns them into extraordinary home furnishings and décor.

One thing I love about Shannon is that she never fails to amaze me with her transformations. They are always fresh ideas and the fact that she has the energy to complete DIY projects and hold a full-time job leaves me speechless. Check out just a sampling of her projects.

And now I see some sparks glowing in the distance. They are moving towards us at warp speed, which only means one thing…Madigan Made is in the house! Read more

How to Swag a Light Fixture

 

Do you have a chandelier that is a little “off” in your dining room? Do you curse the electrician that didn’t bother to think about centering a hanging light fixture? Yeah, me too! I  had this problem in our laundry room.

Granted, “most people” don’t hang chandeliers in their laundry room, but I wanted to do it. Except there was one problem. The confounded light fixture box was no where near centered on the room or the washer and dryer. Grrrr. Read more

Y’all are gonna love today’s guest post! Hammer Like a Girl is in the HOWZZ! Check out that industrial book page topped table that they created.

Today’s guest post is brought to you by THREE handy gals! I’m seriously thinking about moving to Seattle just so I can be one of their friends and share in the DIY project co-ops. Heidi, Monica and Mary Jean make up the power trio at Hammer Like a Girl.

These ladies get together once a week to tackle a DIY project together. They rotate which house they will work in next. Check out some of their transformations like this oval to rectangle table transformation, rustic wood bathtub surround, or tile backsplash.

Read more

The other day I was wandering aimlessly shopping at Costco and spied an empty wooden wine crate. The angel stamped on the side was beckoning me to take her home. Actually, I read Funky Junk Interiors’s post about making tool boxes last year and have been looking for just the right wood to make one. The angel may not have calling me, but I wasn’t about to leave the store without her.

I thought about tucking it under my coat and making a break for the front door, as I was sure there were other crafty ladies eyeing up the lonely wine crate. But, I resisted the urge and asked the manager if I could have it, and he graciously let me take it home. I was exuberant because I’ve been missing my rustic wine crate that Cherie won. Read more

Thanks to my Facebook fan, Heather H., for the ultimate compliment on this lantern. She asked if I got it at Pier 1! Nope Heather, I got it at the Habitat ReStore and it found its way into my hands in this condition:

After a Women Build meeting at the Habitat ReStore a month ago, I spied that dusty relic. An old discarded hanging light fixture. I grabbed it and promptly paid $5 for it. Then I got to chatting with the clerk at the ReStore and absentmindedly walked out without my lantern. By the time I remembered, the ReStore had already closed. It was sad… it was tragic… I didn’t know when I’d be reunited with my light fixture because the ReStore is about 25 minutes away from my home. But, there is a happy ending to my story, my mother-in-law (who gives a good name to all MILs out there) offered to swing by the ReStore the following day to pick up my lantern for me. Hugs to her for reuniting us. But, I had to laugh at the look of skepticism she gave me as she handed over the dusty light. She couldn’t see its true potential, but I could.

How about you? Would you have passed this light fixture by? Or would you have seen the potential?

Well, next time you see a light fixture like that, grab it and I’ll show you how to transform it.

Materials:

  • Old lantern style light fixture
  • Pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Two screwdrivers (at least one needs to be flat head)
  • Damp rag
  • Sandpaper
  • Plastic drop cloth
  • Kilz spray primer
  • Rustoleum Lagoon spray paint
  • Rub n’ Buff Gold Color
  • Paper towels
Difficulty: Easy
Step 1. Disassemble the lantern by unscrewing all the parts.

Step 2. Use wire cutters to cut the wire to the light housings.

Step 3. Pull the light sockets, bulbs and lighting out of the lantern.

Step 4. Remove the finial from the bottom of the lighting and set it aside with the lantern. Discard or keep the lighting parts for some other project.

Step 5. If there is a chain attached to the lantern, insert the two screwdrivers into the link attaching it to the lantern. Rotate the two screwdrivers in opposite directions as shown to pry the chain link apart.

Step 6. Pry up the tabs on the lantern that are holding the glass in place. Remove the glass panels and set them aside.

These are the parts that I kept for the lantern:

Step 7. Wipe all the parts with the damp rag to remove any dust and debris. Then scuff the lantern parts with sandpaper and wipe off any remaining dust.

Step 8. Set the lantern and parts outside on the drop cloth.  Spray them with Kilz primer, flip the pieces over and spray again.

Step 9. When the primer has dried, inspect the lantern for any paint drips that need to be sanded smooth.

Step 10. Spray paint the lantern and parts with Rustoleum Lagoon. Flip everything after the first coat is dry and spray a second coat of paint.

Step 11. After the lantern has dried thoroughly, reassemble the lantern.

Screw the finial onto the inside of the lantern where the lighting used to attach.

Step 11. Wipe a small amount of rub n’ buff on a dry paper towel. Rub it on the cross bars of the lantern.

Step 12. Clean the lantern glass with windex and a clean rag. Then insert the glass panels back into the lantern.

Admire your new aqua beauty!

The hardest part of this project was trying to decide where to display my lantern. I could see it in every room of our home!

But, ultimately I gave it a place of prominence on our mantle. And included an old picture inside it.

Have you seen these old light fixtures? Could you ever guess that they could be turned into beautiful decorating gems?
Have a great weekend y’all. I hope you make a trip to your local Habitat ReStore and search for your own lantern.

I hope you’ll join Heather and some other friends on Facebook so you can see what I’m up to next!

Sharing with Tater Tots and Jello Weekend Wrap Up Party

 

 

Welcome to our second Wednesday in 2012! Today I have a special guest for you: Bri from The Modern Parsonage is here to show you how she created that truly fabulous chandelier you see up there. But, before we get to the tutorial, let me tell you a little about this handy gal (and her partner in DIY crime!) Bri and her husband moved into a home that was previously a Pastor’s family home. They dove head first into the process of renovating the home to be more modern and fitting for the hip couple of professors that they are.

The Modern Parsonage showcases the renovation process, from idea to finished product, tossing in snapshots of design inspiration and everyday life.You can follow them as they transform their home one room (floor to ceiling) at a time. Check out their Staircase renovation, bathroom update, and installing flooring projects.

Okay, take it away Bri!

Let me begin by saying that I started this project thinking I needed a ton of prep work, money, and time to transform a boring, brass light fixture into a show-stopping (if I do say so myself) chandelier. O ye of little faith, I say to my former self. This is a beginner’s project and requires so little skill that I would go so far as to call it a fool-proof way to jazz up even the most tired light or lamp for significantly less than the cost of a new fixture. (Read: under $75)

Start with a cheap chandelier. I found one on my local Craigslist for $25, but I would recommend scouring your hand-me-down shop of choice since these brass fixtures are often the standard for apartments or new builds.

Next, I did some research online and adopted a few misconstrued beliefs that I will now dispel. First, it is perfectly fine to spray paint the plastic-protected electrical cord that runs up the chain. I was not aware of that and wasted quite a bit of time figuring out creative ways to protect the cord while spraying the chain. Second, either fully remove the plastic “candles” or spray paint them the same color as the fixture. I did not know that these were removable and you can still see the tape lines from where I thought I had to cover parts of the plastic. Learn from my mistakes, people.

After you have chosen a diamond-in-the-rough light, acquire the necessary resources. You will need:

  • A drop cloth
  • A place to hang your light (I hung mine in the basement, but you can just as easily use a tree if the weather is nice)
  • Two cans of the spray paint of your choice (it is always better to have extra on hand because spray paint has tricky drying times and you don’t want to run out in the middle of the project). I used matte white and it was just the cheap Ace Hardware brand.
  • A ventilator or mask. Always necessary when messing about with spray paint.
  • 220 grit Sandpaper
  • Deglosser. (This is only if you want to be super thorough. I wiped my chandelier down with just soap and water and the paint adhesion was still great.)
  • Beading of your choice. I used roughly 750 beads and got them at Michael’s, but it all depends on your taste.
  • White string (I got DandyLine brand and it is super strong).

For the optional chain cover:

  • Fabric of your choice (double the length of chain you want to cover and 7 inches wide).
  • Fabric glue
  • Iron-on Velcro
  • Thread
  • Also, an iron, that’s pretty important.

Now it’s time to get down to brass tacks. Get it? Because it’s a brass light? Anyway, lightly run your sandpaper over the fixture. Do not press too hard or the metal will scratch. The goal here is to rough up the surface so that the paint can form a strong bond. Next, give it a good once over with a damp cloth (soap and water will do, deglosser if you’re thorough) to remove any dust, grease, or grime. Let the light dry completely.

Don your mask. You will look beautiful, I promise, but more importantly, your lungs will thank you. Find a good spot to hang your light and start spraying.

As you can see, I tried to bundle up the electrical cord in the plastic bag, but that caused a lot of problems, including bare spots of brass. I also taped off the tops of the “candles” instead of just removing them and covering the exposed wire. So yeah, just don’t repeat my follies.

Spray painting is best in short, quick bursts. Long, sweeping motions are not your friend. It will take many, many thin coats so don’t be surprised if you have to use the entirety of two cans.

Once you have your desired level of coverage, let the light dry overnight. When the paint is fully cured, the real fun starts – beadwork. This part takes creativity and is really up to you. I did a lot of window-shopping for fancy-pants lights and finally decided I wanted a chandelier adorned with clear beads and small silver accents, embellished with teardrop crystals for extra pizzazz. I would say this is the longest part of the process; it took me about four hours to get all the beads strung and hung on the light.

With the hard part done, re-install or switch out your fixture (remember, black wire connects to black wire and white to white!).

At this point, if you’re happy with your light as is, you’re done! If you’re like me and have an awful chain and unpainted electrical cord, you may want to consider DIYing a chain cover. Much cheaper, totally easy, and no sewing machine required.

Begin with your fabric swatch and fold over about a 1/4 inch on each side, ironing the edges.

Apply a small line of fabric glue inside the seams to create a permanent hem. When the glue dries (15 minutes to a half hour), sew a running stitch on both long seams. I know this sounds complicated, but trust me, if I can do it, so can you. Pass the needle in and out of the fabric down the edges, knotting each end. (It allows you to scrunch the fabric, which is important.) Gently pull the knotted ends and push the fabric together to your desired length.

Once the scrunching is done, grab your iron-on Velcro and press it on. Run the iron over the whole cord cover to ensure a strong bond. Now all you have to do is wrap it around your chandelier chain, making sure the seam is on the least visible side, and admire!

Isn’t that chandelier beautiful?! I know people would pay a lot of money to bring that chic lady home. Thank you so much Bri from the Modern Parsonage for letting us into her home for the tutorial.

Would you like to be a guest on Pretty Handy Girl? Read my open invitation here.

You know that thing about your house that you really want to change, but it takes you a while to mull over how to change it? Well, that thing for me was our garage doors. They are the two giant doormen that greet me at least five times a day as I run errands and taxi my children to and from school. I always thought they could be a little more polished and more inviting. In this mulling over period I dreamt of painting the garage doors and boosting the character factor by adding grilles to the windows. I even created a paint preview to see what it would look like. I fell in love immediately and the hulking gray doors’ fate had been sealed.

I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to add the grilles (cross pieces in the windows.) I thought about cutting up paint sticks or just plain strips of square dowels cut to fit, but I REALLY wanted them to look as real as possible and I liked the router profile of the real deal.

A few months later I literally almost tripped on a stack of donated window grilles at my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. You know, the cheap ones that are pressed up against the window and always fall out. Grrrr!

That was when the “A-ha” moment happened and I figured that I could use them to dress up my garage doors. I carefully measured the panes on the garage then found a set of four grilles that would give me two cross pieces per window! Perfect! And the best part about those grilles is that they only cost $2 a piece. For $8, some paint and glue I was able to transform my garage doors from boring bland to cottage charm!

And here is the tutorial for how to add grilles to plain jane garage door windows!

Materials:

  • Reclaimed grilles from Habitat ReStore
  • Hand saw
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Paint
  • Loctite Outdoor Sealant Glue
  • Windex
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • 3M painter’s tape
  • Razor blade scraper
  • Paintable flexible caulk
  • Caulk gun
  • Wet rag
  • Gloves

Start by cutting the grilles down to size. This is how I got two crosses from each grille. First, cut the grille into two pieces as shown below:

No power tools needed. A handsaw works great.

Next, cut off the excess so you are left with two crosses that fit perfectly in the window panes of your garage door.

Test fit the cross. If your measurements are off, no worries, 1/2″ gaps can be filled with caulk.

After cutting all of the cross pieces, clean them off. Lightly sand and paint them the same color as your garage doors.

After the paint is dry, clean the glass with windex and then use rubbing alcohol to remove any dirt and debris from the glass.

Spread a bead of Loctite Outdoor Adhesive onto the backs of both the vertical and horizontal bars. Center and press the grilles onto the glass. Use painter’s tape to hold them in place.

Wait 24 hours for the glue to harden and dry. Then scrape any excess glue off the glass with a razor blade.

Time to fill in the cracks! Caulk all the seams. For the larger gaps, 1.) Apply painter’s tape on both sides of the void to 2.) keep the caulk off the window and give you a crisp, clean edge. (I’ll have a special caulk gun tutorial for you on Friday!)


3.) Remove the painter’s tape while the caulk is still wet. Let the caulk dry.


 And you’re done! How is that for adding instant character?!


I could kiss these beauties! They are definitely welcoming doormen now.

Speaking of welcome, I repainted our faded Welcome sign and hung it back up. Are you an eagle eye reader? What else changed in the pictures below? Five things have changed, can you spot them all? I’ll start you off:

  1. Painted doors
  2. Added grilles
  3. Refreshed welcome sign

Okay, one more lookey at my beautiful garage door windows and then you have to leave.

I want to give a big shout out and thank you to Waste Management and The Bagster who helped make my garage makeover a possibility. You can see more of my garage transformation here.


What is better than a creative gift wrapped package? A creative gift wrapping that can be re-used again and again and again! Chalkboard tags made from foam board are adorable and can be used after the gift has been opened.


Materials:

  • Chalkboard paint
  • Foam board
  • Chalk or chalkboard pen
  • Wrapping paper
  • Ribbon
  • Hole Punch
  • X-acto knife
  • Pencil
  • Ruler

Measure and cut out a 4″ x 6″ rectangle of foam board. The trick to clean cuts in foam board is to use a brand new x-acto blade! It is that simple.


To make perfect diagonal corners, measure 1″ from the corner (across and down) and make  marks. Then draw a diagonal line connecting the two points. Cut off the triangle.

Use the hole punch to put a hole in the middle of the top edge.

Spray paint or paint chalkboard paint onto the foam board. Let it dry.

Season the chalkboard rectangle by rubbing chalk all over the board. Then wipe it off. This will eliminate the chalk message “burning” into the chalkboard and will allow the recipient to re-use the board.


Write a message on the chalkboard tag.


Wrap the present with wrapping paper and a big bow. Attach the tag to the bow.


Now your gift recipient has a cute little re-useable chalkboard tag.


 Merry Christmas, Renee!


Materials:

  • Chalkboard paint
  • Foam core
  • Chalk or chalkboard pen
  • Wrapping paper
  • Ribbon
  • Hole punch
  • X-acto knife
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Clothespin
  • Silver or Gold acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Hot glue gun (or Elmer’s glue spots)

Follow the instructions above for making a foam core chalkboard. Eliminate the steps on cutting diagonal corners and adding a hole for this one.

Take apart a clothespin and paint both sides using the silver or gold acrylic paint.

Wrap the present with wrapping paper.

Wrap ribbon around the present, but don’t tie a bow. Just make a knot.


Make a separate bow out of the same ribbon and use hot glue (or Elmer’s glue spots) to attach it to the clothespin.


Clip the clothespin over the knotted bow on your package and slide your chalkboard into the clothespin.


“Merry Christmas, Baby!”

Only one more day until Christmas! Better get wrapping people! I’ll have a final wrapping paper tutorial for you tomorrow, I bet you can’t wait!